London’s ’Felabration’ to be live streamed

Fela Kuti

The sold out ’Late at the Library: Felabration!' in celebration of Afro-beat star Fela Kuti this Friday October 16 will be streamed live online from the British Library.

‘Felabration’ marks the birthday of Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938-1997), the defining creator of the funk, jazz and rhythmic force that is Nigerian Afro-beat. As well as a composer and multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti was a human rights activist and defiant political and social maverick whose influence continues to reverberate throughout Africa and beyond. Felabrations take place annually at The New Afrika Shrine in Lagos and in cities all around the world to mark and honour Fela’s birthday. London has its own, this year taking place this Friday October 16, in the atrium of the British Library.

'Late at the Library: Felabration!' is completely sold out with hundreds of people clamouring for tickets. To appease the disappointment of those unable to attend the British Library and co-producers Knitting Factory Records will present a live stream of the full show. Fans will be able to watch the three-hour spectacular with a line-up of star names including Laura Mvula, Terri Walker, The Floacist, Nigerian acoustic jazz-folk singer and songwriter Bumi Thomas and French born, West African singer Audrey Gbaguidi. 

Also performing is Fela’s long-time legendary rhythm-keeper, drummer Tony Allen who was instrumental in the creation of Afro-beat. He was an original member of Fela's Koola Lobitos highlife-jazz band and later of Fela's Africa 70 band (1968-1979). Brian Eno has described him as "perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived.”

Taking part, direct from Lagos, will be 2face Idibia, one the most celebrated African artiste of his generation and the key figure in the rise to global prominence of what has been described as the sound of 21st century Africa. His distinctive blend of reggae, R&B and traditional African musical influences creates a vibe that is contemporary and universal while maintaining a clear African identity.

The supercharged tribute to the man and his music will be led by Dele Sosimi and his 16-piece Afro-beat Orchestra. Dele Sosimi played keyboards as part of Fela’s Egypt 80 band from 1979 to 1986 and created the Positive Force band with Fela’s son, Femi Kuti, with whom he performed from 1986 to 1994.

Watch the live stream on fela.net and okayafrica.com from 21:00 GMT this Friday October 16.

See The Roots’ drummer Amir Questlove’s favourite Fela playlist here.

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